WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Management lessons from Brett Favre

The Brett Favre saga with the Green Bay Packers is a great example of how sports can teach life and business lessons.

Steven Pearlstein's column today in the Washington Post takes the Favre-Packer lesson from the playing field to the board room.

Star players whether in sports or in business, have large egos. It is what drives them. They believe they are better at what they do and they want the attention and praise that fits their talents. Many know when their time has come, when either they don't have the energy to put in the hard work that it takes to stay on top or they lose interest. Others don't, so we end up with sad stories such as Brett Favre heading to New York.

The mistake, according to Pearlstein, is that management didn't find a way to co-opt the superstar's ego. It makes sense. The Packers could have welcomed Favre back with open arms and made him part of the transition to a new quarterback. A player-coach role.

I don't want to just parrot Pearlstein's column, though it is definitely worth a read.

It isn't hard to imagine that there are several companies in the government market facing similar situations. In many cases, it could be worse than the Favre situation, because I'm sure that the company superstar is often the chief executive officer and/or owner of the company. And who could tell him or her, it is time to turn in their playbook?

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 08, 2008 at 7:22 PM


Reader Comments

Mon, Aug 18, 2008 M Amtower HIGHLAND MD

Nick - good piece - and thnx for pointing out the Pearlstien article as well. I have seen several instances of management staying longer than necessary in this market, and I have seen instances where management was unnecessarily changed, too. In many cases, it is the Board that needs changing first, as you see the same faces on too many Baords, and therefore similar decisions (from companies that compete) that lead to lukewarm directions and frequently overpaid Bd members and CEOs.Not that I have an opinion....

Mon, Aug 11, 2008 g w pomroy

It's unfortunate that so many highly-talented people never seem to grow up and live in a world outside of themselves. It seems, to me, the truly great athletes, leaders, and humans are those who can find value in helping OTHERS provide value.I disagree that the Packers management did it 'wrong'. Mr. Favre shouldn't have the luxury of expecting the world (in this case, the Packers and professional football) to rotate around him. He comes across (again, to me) as nothing but a spoiled brat - as talented as he may/might have been.

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